Simons Square One
Simons, the 175-year-old family-owned fashion retailer from Quebec City, opened its first Ontario store yesterday. The Square One location is Simons’ 12th store, the third outside of its home province of Quebec. The two-storey, 110,000 square foot store sits on the north side of the centre at the corner of Square One and Hammerson Drives.
The design of the new Square One location is inspired by the award-winning Simons store at West Edmonton Mall, which opened in 2012. It shares a similar design philosophy but incorporates new artistic and creative elements to give it a unique personality. Simons’ longstanding architectural partner, Lemay Michaud, once again brings its expertise to this project along with Toronto-based design firm Figure3.
The exterior of the new store reveals a subtle linear pattern in clean, white pre-cast concrete textured with 3D triangles. Simons’ green accents adorn portions of the exterior creating movement that resembles leaves falling or fluttering in the wind.
The main entrance features a light-filled glass atrium inviting shoppers inside where a show-stopping set of floating stairs greets guests. The stringerless steps wrap around an illuminated white feature wall that marks the main aisle of the store. A second 30 foot illuminated wall is suspended from the ceiling of the store and travels through the atrium to the main level where it ends, floating above the jewellery showcase. Both soft glowing walls act as dramatic landmarks within the space.
For ease of navigation, the layout separates women’s on the main floor and men’s on the upper level of the store.
Twik for young female shoppers plays with texture in a weaving inspired design. Elements of a deconstructed loom, complete with yarn, creates a canopy of colour over the fitting rooms. The theme continues on lighting fixtures and department logos strung with yarn.
Origami geometric graphics and 3D elements within the women’s Icône and Contemporaine areas help to create an artisanal boutique feel while the lifestyle of iFive’s activewear is represented by 3D topography and suspended wire clouds throughout.
Miiyu, women’s lingerie, and Maison, Simons’ home fashions, complete the main level.
Male shoppers have the entire top level to explore Simons’ men’s offering. Djab for young men has an industrial feel with reclaimed wood, rough concrete accents, graffiti art and porta potties for fitting rooms. Le 31 for men transitions from industrial detailing into sophisticated dark gray and navy fixtures adorned with artistic touches like knit trophy heads.
On each floor Edito boutiques house Simons’ bold selections from international designers including MSGM, Vivienne Westwood and Balmain as well as exciting Canadian talent like Unttld and Denis Gagnon. Wood backdrops and sophisticated black detailing help create a special experience for designer shopping. Both men’s and women’s areas include an extensive selection of accessories that acts as a pivot point in the centre of each floor.
Rounding out the top floor is Ève, Simons’ new café concept, a modern take on a French bistro. Navy and pinks are used throughout the space and banquettes and bistro tables create a cozy welcoming feel complete with a menu of hot and cold, sweet and savoury treats. During warmer months, guests can enjoy the terrace facing one of Square One’s many green spaces.
Art reflects “hybridization of cultures”
In keeping with its commitment to showcasing Canadian art, Simons commissioned ceramic artist Brendan Tang to create a piece for the new Square One space. Raincity Robot is a sculpture made of a traditionally-inspired Chinese vase adorned with robotic prosthetics at its base, marrying historical with contemporary cultures. The sculpture, made of fibreglass, is 10½ feet tall and will sit at the top of the escalator, visible from both entrances and throughout the store.
“My artistic practice embodies the influencers, tensions and contradictions that define the postmodern world,” said Tang. “I hope that my piece will not only be a source of pride and engagement for Simons’ customers and employees, but will add a new voice to the public art dialogue of Mississauga.”
Raincity Robot’s vase form is a nod to the former Four Sisters stacks at the Lakeview Generation station. The robotic barnacles reference the lakeside geography and technological industry of the Mississauga region.
Raincity Robot is the newest and largest of Brendan Tang’s Manga Ormolu series which is a futuristic update of 18th century gilded vessels (ormolu) using robotic prosthetics inspired by Japanese animation and comics (manga).